5 Tips To Stay Ready

During my 25-year career I’ve learned to expect the unexpected, but I don’t think anyone could have predicted the current situation.  9/11 took us by surprise and changed our lives forever, but after a brief disruption the games carried on.  Work stoppages from labor disputes erased parts of seasons and recessions made getting deals done awfully difficult.  However, we are living in unprecedented times with so much uncertainty. As we adjust to this new way of life working from home, home schooling, canceled games, reduced pay, and layoffs how do we prepare for when this is all over?  Here are 5 tips to stay ready:

1. Assess

It may not be fun, but it is important to assess what assets are lost during this disruption.  Everyone is hurting and no one is to blame, but we need to know what can be made up for when this is over and what cannot.  Take a look at your contracts, the calendar and resources.  Since we are all in this together, good partners are going to be flexible and understanding.  Properties are figuring out different scenarios based on when games begin and sponsors are determining what their new message will be when this is over.

2. Plan

It is hard to plan for an unknown starting date, but if we wait until this is over we won’t be able to hit the ground running when it is.  Like many of you, we were working on activation plans for the MLB and MLS seasons, NBA/NHL playoffs and numerous events.  These plans may need to change now and the timing is obviously up in the air.  However, we can still get things ready.  We are often more reactive than proactive because of our busy schedules, but why not get a jumpstart on 2021 planning as well.  “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” – John Wooden

3. Organize

The truth is things have drastically slowed down for many of us.  Why not use this time to clear out your inbox, dust off that to-do list and get organized.  Do that project you’ve just not had the time for.  Set up that new system you’ve been thinking about.  By now, hopefully you have figured out how to work from home, which may have been a big adjustment.  We know this is temporary, but do what you can to make this setup as functional as possible.  It may come in handy down the road.

4. Create

For marketers, a lot of us are deliberating on what the message should be when this is over.  When is it too soon?  How should we be sensitive during the aftermath, while also getting our businesses back on track?  Properties will need to figure out how to make up for this lost time and assets. It will be more challenging to spread things out so fans aren’t overloaded with sponsor promotions while some properties may now overlap more than before.  Some brands are already out there with messages of hope, safety and support.  Objectives may change depending on your business, but creative and thoughtful marketing will be needed more than ever.

5. Communicate

Wooden

Most of the properties we work with have done a great job communicating and keeping us apprised of what is happening on their end.  Since no one really knows how long this will last, there isn’t much concrete to say.  However, it helps reinforce the relationship to know they are thinking of us as well as ways to connect with fans during this crisis.  You may not need to maintain the weekly call with each partner, but try to keep the communication going.  This is also a great time to reach out to friends, family and former colleagues you may not always get a chance to connect with during our usually busy lives.

I’ll end this with one more quote from the great John Wooden…. “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”